November 4, 2009.
Article Type: Letter to the editor
Author: Smart, Julie
Pub Date: 12/22/2009
Publication: Name: Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association Publisher: American Psychotherapy Association Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Psychology and mental health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 American Psychotherapy Association ISSN: 1535-4075
Issue: Date: Winter, 2009 Source Volume: 12 Source Issue: 4
Accession Number: 216961272
Full Text: Dear Editors,

I am disappointed to read such blatant and ill-informed bias in Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association (Volume 12 (3)). In Dr. Eliot's article, "Adolescent Alliance Building: A Contemporary Approach to an Ancient Concept," (pp. 10-15), Eliot states on pp. 12-13, "Finally another example of comparative mores with regard to the empowerment of young people ... is seen among the evangelical groups such as the Amish Mennonites ... and the Mormons of Idaho." In the same paragraph on page 13, Eliot stated, "Similarly, the Book of Mormon is seen as the word of God, and its literal interpretation governs every aspect of daily life, especially in the misogynous atmosphere regulating adolescent behavior."

According to the publication manual of the American Psychological Association, "Authors are encouraged to avoid perpetrating demeaning attitudes and biased assumptions about people in their writing" 3.17 (p. 76) (2010, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC). Eliot clearly violated this guideline and, furthermore, I am assuming that Dr. Eliot's manuscript was reviewed by three anonymous reviewers. How, and why, did these reviewers allow such prejudicial statements to be published? How did the copy editor fail to notice that Stevick was not included in the reference list?

I looked up the word misogynous in the dictionary just in case I had misunderstood Eliot's statement. Misogynous does mean "hatred of women." That's what I thought it meant. It is unclear whether this is a statement attributed to Stevick (2007), which Eliot cites in the paragraph, or if the statement is Dr. Eliot's opinion. Looking at the reference list, I could not find Stevick listed. I would have liked to read what Stevick had written. After re-reading the paragraph, it appears that Stevick published only on the Mennonites. Even if Stevick had written these remarks about Mormons, Dr. Eliot does not include Stevick's quotation marks or page numbers.

Dr. Eliot is not engaging in healthy and open discussion, not is she using her academic freedom to publish her ideas. These are not controversial statements about Mormons; these statements are false and defamatory. Nor does the disclaimer, "The views expressed in Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association are those of the authors and may not reflect the official policies of the American Psychotherapy Association," provide justification for such blatant and ill-informed bias to be published. Would the Annals publish such prejudice and bias toward any other group, such as African Americans, gay men, or Jewish people? Of course not. It is absolutely mind-boggling to read such prejudicial statements in an academic publication.

I am assuming that Dr. Eliot or Stevick (or both) have read the Book of Mormon carefully and thoroughly and can cite specific verses which are considered to be misogynous. Healthy academic debate that includes controversial informed opinions should be supported by clear documentation. Dr. Eliot does not include any concrete documentation. I have read the Book of Mormon several times and I cannot find anything that could be labeled misogynous.

Julie Smart, PhD, CRC, LPC, NCC, ABDA, CCFC, ABPC

Professor and Director

Rehabilitation Counseling Program
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